The Importance of Dining With Friends and Preserving Relationships

Most of us women, by nature, are social creatures. We like to nurture and be nurtured for our own mental and physical health. Sharing a healthy meal together is one way to do that. Spending time connecting socially, whether chatting over happy hour specials or sharing a table with friends at a restaurant or at home regularly has been shown to increase happiness and lower the risk of depression. The simple act of gathering around the table helps establish connections, which studies have found are important in staying happy and feeling a sense of belonging.

Because we live in a 24/7 environment today, we often find that we’ve put productivity over pleasure for too many days. Sharing a meal with your friends is a great excuse to slow down, stop, sit still and simply catch up. Sitting at a table together talking and eating may be one of the few times we are ready to put aside work or household business and take time out of the day.

Don’t let another week or month go by where you haven’t seen your best friends. Make a plan today to gather some people together around food, sit down together, talk, eat and enjoy each other’s company!

Read more in City Social online or pick up a free copy around town today!

BeetSalad2Beet Salad
3 beets
1 tablespoon orange juice
3 tablespoons avocado oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Steen’s cane vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 black pepper
2 cups mixed greens
1/4 cup toasted pecans
1/4 cup bleu cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the beets, pat the dry and wrap in a foil pouch. Bake beets in foil for 1 hour. Once cooled, peel the beets and slice into 1/4-inch slices, then cut the slices in half.

While the beets are cooling, whisk together the juice, oil, honey, vinegar, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Toss the beets and dressing together with the greens. Top with toasted pecans, crumbled bleu cheese and freshly cracked pepper and serve.

Strawberry Snap Pea SaladBerrySnapPeaSalad2
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 black pepper
1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into segments
1 cup strawberries, sliced
2 cups spring greens
1/4 cup toasted almond slivers
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Place the cut snap peas and sliced strawberries along with the fresh greens in a bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss to coat lightly. Top with almond slivers and goat cheese crumbles. Add extra freshly cracked pepper, if desired.

Blueberry Mascarpone Cups
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoons almond extract
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 cups fresh blueberries

Stir nutmeg into mascarpone cheese, then spoon an even layer of cheese into four dessert dishes. Divide berries between the four dishes on top of the cheese. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together juice and sugar. Simmer rapidly until slightly syrupy and reduced by half. Remove from the heat and add almond extract. Drizzle warm syrup over berries and cheese. Sprinkle with almonds and orange zest. Serve immediately.

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